Blueprint is a collaboration between a number of Glasgow galleries, archives and museums taking place in February 2013. The event seeks to explore the links between art and engineering, alternative photographic processes and fine art photographic printmaking (printing with ink) and technical drawings.

As part of the festival and exhibition focusing on the engineering and design of Wyllie's artwork was held at the Royal Glasgow INstitute of the Fine Arts.  

George Wyllie: Scul?tor and Navigator
7 February – 9 March 2013

George Wyllie was a remarkable artist who reached out beyond the confines of the art gallery and connected with real people all over the world through his thought-provoking art.

George Wyllie: Scul?tor and Navigator will offer a unique look at the ideas and design of Wyllie’s work. Including materials related to the artist’s famous works, the Straw Locomotive and The Paper Boat, the exhibition will also look at projects conceived by Wyllie that did and did not come to fruition.

As the self-proclaimed “best bogie-builder in Cardonald”, who built his first yacht in the living room of the family home, Wyllie’s first job was an office boy in a shipping company in Govan. He then trained as an engineer with the Post Office before joining the Royal Navy and then working for Customs and Excise.

At the age of 58 he entered into a four-decade long late-flowering career as an artist. The practical skills and knowledge gained throughout Wyllie’s working life were integral to his artistic practice; the scale and ambition of his public artworks relied on principles of engineering and design in their conception and construction.

In 1987, Wyllie attracted international attention with his Straw Locomotive, a 78ft locomotive constructed from steel, straw and chicken wire, which hung from the Finnieston crane in Glasgow before being burned in nearby Springburn in a Viking style funeral.

Two years later, his 82ft Paper Boat, a memorial to the city’s shipbuilding industry, sailed the Clyde, was seen by millions as it traveled around the world from Glasgow to New York and back to Scotland.

Hot on the heels of the award winning George Wyllie Retrospective, co-curated by RGI Curator Lynne Mackenzie, this exhibition has been put together by Mackenzie, who as curator of the George Wyllie Archive has worked closely with his family to make sure the work of one of Scotland’s best-loved artists is kept in the public eye. This exhibition gives a unique insight into the ideas and creations of a man whose lightness of touch and workmanlike approach to his art always gave way to a more serious message.

The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts is an independent organisation promoting and encouraging Scotland’s contemporary art and artists. Established in 1861, the Institute organises the largest annual open exhibition in Scotland as well as a lively programme of exhibitions and events in its city centre gallery.

George Wyllie MBE RSA DLitt RGI was awarded the title of RGI in 1992. The award of RGI is made to artists for artistic merit and their dedication to the Institute.


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